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Poster: Stealz Date: Aug 25, 2007 5:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Deadhook vs. LMA [continued]

Hey Ashes! Good to see you here on the forum and thanks again for the discs.

Perhaps I am off on this one, but I've always felt that Dylan was merely continuing to craft and shape a visual image through lyric by writing "young girls pullin' muscles". Not only is Dylan metaphorically "painting a masterpiece" throughout the song but he (in my opinion) is attempting to literally "paint a masterpiece" by way of lyric through his vivid description of what one might find in the European locales mentioned.

As often found in the artwork (on canvas) of men who use the brush rather than the pen, there are many pieces that are merely the artist's visual recreation of a speficic location within a given town or city (eg. Van Gogh's "The Cafe' Terrace on the Place du Forum at Night").

If a leap can be made here I think some further understanding of the lyrics in question can be had. If, in fact, we decide that Dylan is referring not only to "painting a masterpiece" out of life itself but that he is also providing the listener with an audible recreation of both specific and general European locations (as opposed to a brush artist's visual recreation) we can make yet further sense of the line "young girls pullin' muscles".

The leap that will need to be made is in reference to the spelling of the term muscles. A homophone of the word muscles is obviously "mussels". Herein lies the answer to your question Ashes (in my opinion). Dylan is "brushing" his representation of Brussels at the time he mentions "young girls pullin muscles". Along with "clergymen in uniform" and "newspapermen eating candy" it can be inferred that Dylan is using this line to help paint his personal picture of Brussels. Brussels is VERY famous for mussels. Years ago, and still today in fact, it was common for many of the restaurants serving mussels in Brussels (which probably includes upwards of 90-95 percent, kind of like crab cakes in Baltimore) to set up tables on the street sides for the sole intent of selling fresh mussels. Along with this fact, many of the restaurants would/do employ pretty young women as their salesperson of the mussels so as to attract even more attention to their selection of fresh mussels.

If we take these things in to account it seems relatively obvious to me that this is what Dylan is referring to but I have always had trouble with the whole homophone thing. Why would Dylan not just use "mussels" instead of "muscles"? Maybe that's just part of his Masterpiece, i don't know.

Hope this helps serve as a possible answer to your question.

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Poster: waynecs Date: Aug 25, 2007 8:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Deadhook vs. LMA [continued]

makes sense to me,but I had always assumed it was mussels.

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Poster: AshesRising Date: Aug 25, 2007 11:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Deadhook vs. LMA [continued]

Stealz: Thank you for both the historical background and your insight into the many levels of the canvas (seen and unseen).

Kinda weird synchronicity: as I walked along the shore this morning listening to the ocean growl I wondered if Dylan was employing the "play on words" technique ("mussels" rather than "muscles") Check this out: the etymology of "mussel" (from Merriam-Webster):
Middle English "muscle," from Old English "muscelle," from Vulgar Latin "*muscula," from Latin "musculus" muscle, mussel

Stealz, another example possibly (probably??? - that's the great thing about this stuff, isn' it, never knowing the lyricist's intent....or lack thereof?) Anyway, another example that appears to be in line with your interpretation of a lyricist simultaneously "painting" both literally (i.e., a specific time and space) as well as metaphorically on the broader expanse of life itself occurs within "Mission in the Rain." (I refer to the technique as a "play on words," since I don't know how to use the word "homophone" properly): one month ago (July 25) it was brought to the Forum's attention by "jackstraw66" and "bluedevil." I'll paste it below, however I first want to thank you for taking the time to write such a thought-full and thought-provoking post.

Your post, Stealz, goes beyond just the specific lyric and song that prompted my inquiry --- your post opens many windows and doorways and I am grateful for the inspiration. This evening's stroll along the shore will add lots of color and texture to my canvas. Thank You.

--- AshesRising

Here is the text regarding "Mission in the Rain" mentioned above:
from Dodd's Annotated Lyrics of the Dead here:

This note from a reader:
From: John
Sent: Saturday, January 25, 2003 9:31 AM
Subject: Mission In the Rain

Many thanks for your work on the Dead...."Annotated" is a resource I've used time and time again to clarify lyrics.

I've been thinking a lot lately about Mission in the Rain. I believe the word "bell" should probably be spelled "belle"....or at least, is a very deliberate pun.

The song, of course, is about a guy walking through the San Francisco Mission district at midnight in the rain. The main thing you will find at midnight around 17th and Mission (where Hunter used to live) is hookers, and this has been true at least back to the early Sixties. (For street hookers, tourists in SF go to the Tenderloin, near the big hotels. The locals have always come to the Mission). The main hooker area for many years in the Mission has been 16th to 18th on Mission, and 16th to 18th on the parallel alley, Capp. **

There are no Mission Bells at midnight in the Mission....but there are many Mission "Belles." Other things which point to this in the song:

"I must turn down your offer but I'd like to ask a break...." (He's broke, or doesn't have enough money?)
"Someone called my name, you know, I turned around to see...." (A girl he'd been with before?)
Other lyrics also seem to fit.... (There's some satisfaction in the San Francisco Rain...) etc.

Warm Regards,

John B. Xxxxxxx

** this is only slightly less true today....the influx of yuppies has resulted in a bit of a crackdown....but the girls are still there.

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Poster: Stealz Date: Aug 25, 2007 10:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Deadhook vs. LMA [continued]

I'm happy to see that you were able to take something from my post Ashes. It is pleasing to me to know that you were able to find something of worth within my response and that your thoughts on this and similar topics have been further provoked.

I love the annotated lyric site of Dodd's. It is a staple among the sites that I treasure for both their content and the emotions that they can create within me.

You are very welcome for the things for which you thanked me and expressed gratitude. Thank you, as well, for taking the time to provide both me and the rest of the forum members with a similar example. It is threads like these and people like you that keep me coming back.

Did you receive my email? Just curious...

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Poster: AshesRising Date: Aug 25, 2007 11:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Deadhook vs. LMA [continued]

Stealz! ..buddie, that's you(?)! I had no idea that was you!!!.. ..yeah, I received your email but did not have an opportunity to read it earlier (dial-up here at the hotel is pathetic) Man, that email it is so well-written and filled with thoughts that I couldn't possibly reply with a pithy comment like, "Nice to hear from you....." You are one intense dude --- not surprising from the correspondence we have had -- but, Stealz, you must feel "at home" here with these other characters. They are way beyond me but it must be perfect for you to read them....

Got a touch of "November in my soul" --- thank God.

---- AshesRising

This post was modified by AshesRising on 2007-08-26 06:21:23

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Poster: Stealz Date: Aug 26, 2007 6:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Deadhook vs. LMA [continued]

"Way beyond" you? I'm sure that's not the case. This I can tell from our correspondence as well. Yes, I do feel very much at home here, if for no other reason I've found that whether I reply to posts or not, many of the threads found within this forum contain something of value to me. The give and take on a range of topics is enjoyable and the spirited banter is something I enjoy thoroughly.

Intense, huh? That's a new one! Passionate? That's an old one.

Please, do not hesitate to ever ask anything of me Ashes as I would be more than happy to oblige in any manner I might be able to.